#4 The songwriting and lyrics
The biggest part of my musical heart belongs to progressive metal, mainly because I like the complex and diverse nature of the music, the excellent songwriting, carefully thought out lyrics and lengthy tracks. The best thing is when bands compose concept albums that are one long, consecutive song, like TesseracT’s ‘Concealing Fate’ and Uneven Structure’s ‘Februus’. Another example of good songwriting and lyrics:
Gojira – Pain Is A Master
#3 Emotional Vocals
A vocalist with a powerful and versatile voice is very often present in the music I like the most. I’ve realized it’s a very important component; instrumental music doesn’t interest me much at all. I love a sincere, emotional voice with a good range that can perform many different styles like Daniel Tompkins (Skyharbor), Ilkka Viitasalo (Benea Reach), ICS Vortex (Borknagar) Daniel de Jongh (Textures)
Skyharbor – Catharsis
I am a little late to the Insomnium game. My first taste was during the release of One For Sorrow and as a result of that album, they cemented themselves as a band of interest in my life. I then went back one album and enjoyed that too. I still have others on my list of albums to buy and will get to them soon I hope. I also had a cool opportunity to meet them and see them live a couple of years ago. Needless to say, when a new EP presented itself to me (or the world I should say), two things went through my mind. First, where the hell did this come from and second, why just an EP? I can’t say I am complaining, but I am a little bit because I was looking forward to a full-length release. However, if there is one thing I learned in my life is patience and I am sure the full-length studio album will follow. Based on my minimal research, there will be an album in 2014. So, we wait, but for now we can enjoy four new tracks; three of which are instrumental.
Album Review: Five Finger Death Punch – The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell Vol 2
It’s time for the second edition of The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol 2; Five Finger Death Punch’s second album of 2013. As you may have read here, my impression of Vol 1 wasn’t exactly that stellar, but I found some redeeming qualities in some of the songs. I like their groove and level of angst they put into their riffing, but find myself lost on their lyrical content. It’s strange because usually lyrics are the least important thing to me, but I guess when they are so childish they throw me off preventing me from focusing on everything else I love about metal. Let’s face it, I am far from being a teenager and to me this is the audience they are appealing to. I am just not that angst-ridden anymore. I need more substance in my songs for those situations where lyrical content somehow strikes me. Just like they articulate in track #2, Weight Beneath My Sin…
…It’s the same old fucking story, the same old fucking lies, the same old fucking ending…
Posted by ChristopherMammal
I call these albums In-Betweeners because to me they are not strictly prog, metal or hard rock, they draw from all of those and other genres. Genre labels continue to become blurred. Hurrah for that!
#20: Andromeda (Sweden), prog metal
Album: Manifest Tyranny
Song: Lies ‘R’ Us
Andromeda released five albums between 2001 and 2011. Over the span of a decade their music has taken on an increasingly neo-progressive rock feel. This hasn’t jarred in any way because they’ve been consistently good. Besides, neo-prog and prog metal are often very compatible bedmates. Both genres include cross-over elements, drawing from various other styles. This is why prog metal doesn’t appeal to some followers of harder metal, and neo-prog sometimes alienates the symphonic prog purists.
#19: Jolly (USA), neo-progressive rock
Album: The Audio Guide To Happiness
Song: Ends Where It Starts
This was Jolly’s second album. To me it’s as much heavy prog as neo-prog. Their new album, The Audio Guide To Happiness 2, has perhaps even a heavier flavour and has won over a fair number of prog metal fans. The band has named diverse influences, from Depeche Mode to Tool. Whatever may have inspired them, Jolly have built a solid, distinctive sound of their own.
#18: Ancestors (USA), post metal
Album: In Dreams and Time
Post metal is one of the hybrid genres you’ll find listed on both metal and prog sites, along with post rock and progressive metal. One description of both post rock and post metal is that they dispense with traditional riffs and solos, creating layers of sound instead. Both styles are often instrumental. Ancestors enrich their brand of post metal with vocals and by incorporating elements of doom, stoner and drone metal as well as psychedelic prog rock.
#17: Magic Pie (Norway), symphonic progressive rock
Album: The Suffering Joy
Song: Slightly Mad
Magic Pie may be generally considered a symphonic prog band, but they temper their sound by blending it with hard rock. The resulting music is orchestral and does use a lot of keyboard. However, it also features some powerful guitar work. It is somewhat surreal and extremely melodious… I think Devin Townsend would approve. One of the great strengths of Magic Pie is that their lead singer, Eirick Hanssen, is one of the best vocalists in the business.
#16: Unitopia (Australia), crossover prog
Song: Not Human Anymore
The “crossover” part refers to the retro aspect of Unitopia’s music. The band is influenced by the great bands of the 1970s classic prog era. At the same time, they lubricate their very distinctive sound with healthy doses of modern rock that borders very closely on prog metal. The overall label I would attach to their music is “epic”. Even power metal fans should try this band.
This was indeed a difficult, but interesting challenge. Exactly what I like and look for in music, and mainly in metal, is something I’ve never thought about to a great extent before. And I wouldn’t say it’s important to know either, it’s just a way to get to know myself better (and a good excuse for making another list). It goes a bit deeper and is more specific than just saying “I like <insert genre here>”. These components I’m describing apply to any style of music I listen to.
#6 Dark, melancholic and flowing atmosphere
Maybe I’m a person that is too serious and sorrowful on the inside? I’m always drawn to music with a dark and melancholic undertone and sincere, solemn vocals. Even if some music I like might sound light and uplifting, the lyrics usually have a very serious or sad meaning (the song Reaching Home by Textures being the perfect example). I prefer this dark atmosphere served with the wonderful flow that can often be found in post rock/metal and atmospheric black metal. This is why I love bands like Alcest, ISIS, Ghost Brigade, Swallow the Sun and Ne Obliviscaris.
Yay, it’s Friday! To prevent an overload of lovely progressive music here on the blog I decided to pick a song that our non-proggy readers could enjoy too. “Immortality Made Flesh” is a fast-paced and fun technical melodic thrash tune, with an abundance of catchy riffs and insane guitars. It’s a single from their upcoming album (I’m looking forward to it!) that will be released in February next year. A perfect energy boost for the beginning of the weekend. Enjoy and have a nice one!
Posted by atleastimhousebroken
Roughly about 10 years ago I started listening to a band I would have never imagined would ever explode to fame and heights that they soar at today. Lamb of God was an extreme metal band that simply blew me away the moment I started listening to the opening track on my shiny As the Palaces Burn CD that I had bought on a friends recommendation. My first impression was that Lamb of God are carrying the torch of New Wave of American Metal that the legendary Pantera had lit a decade before. But I also thought, due to the intensity of the music it would only appeal to a niche sect of people already established in the realms of death metal. Pantera were heavy as fuck, but they still were very accessible, and at the time metalcore was taking off, and while there were some pretty extreme bands getting popular, they were also rife with accessibility. Lamb of God was brutal, intense, pissed off, and pulled no punches. Yet somehow, their no-holds-barred style of groove/death metal hit a chord with both seekers of more accessible metal as well as lovers of the extreme spectrum and a legend was born.
The Amenta’s excellent album ‘Flesh Is Heir’ has been my must-listen-to-when-exhausted-after-work-album for a couple of months now. Their music is impossible to use as only background music; it’s demanding, intense and chaotic. This song works particularly well on me and never fails to succeed in waking up all of my sleepy brain cells.
“I am a single signal, tear me from the ground, and drown me in sound.
I am a crest of a wave, tear me from the ground, and drown me”
Posted by atleastimhousebroken
Trying to really nail down the unique sound of Canadian metal band Protest the Hero is quite a difficult task. In the past I would have called it ‘prog metal’ played with a lovin’ spoonful of methamphetamine and cocaine and called it a day. Sure, their brand of speedy prog metal was unlike anything out there and I’ve purchased every album from the band and enjoyed the spins I’ve given them. However, more often than not, I found it difficult to listen to entire records without reaching sensory overload or boredom. They had their stand-out songs and the stuff in between seem to just serve to keep the break-neck pace of the records up and showed minimal dynamics. Fast-forward a few years and a hugely successful Indie Go-Go campaign (Kickstarter for the non-Americans) later, Protest the Hero have unleashed unto the world an album that shows more improvements than I can shake a stick at. Needless to say, Volition is the realization from a band overflowing with potential and is brimming with dynamic, variety, and passion while not even for a split-second dismissing an iota of PtH’s core sound.
A couple of months ago, I caught wind of a cool show…co-headlined by The Sword and Clutch. If you are into that particular style of music I think you would find it to be a worthy show to attend. They happened to be passing though Denver; my (only) choice of cities for concerts and I planned on attending. However, when I was at Death Angel on 7 Nov, I heard that The Sword was performing in Fort Collins instead of Denver. I thought maybe this was a one-off show to occupy a day off, but when I did the research, I realized that Clutch and The Sword split the Denver date in two…The Sword in Fort Collins while Clutch still played as scheduled. Needless to say, based on the title of this article, I chose to see The Sword in Fort Collins which just happened to be an hour closer to home. Also performing were Fort Collins natives Bronze and Boulder, CO natives Black Acid Devil.